Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Monday, June 18, 2012

So It Begins... a Canning Tutorial: Strawberry Rhubarb Jam and Pickled Turnips

First Real Harvest and First Jars Filled

Last week I hauled in my first real basket of produce - primarily mustard greens and rhubarb.  The mustard greens got turned into beans and greens (sorry - no pics, we we're too hungry!), and the rhubarb was destined to be turned into my Gram's Strawberry Rhubarb Jelly.  Let the Games Begin!
If you don't currently preserve anything, and have been thinking of trying canning this summer- consider making jelly.  It's a fast project, and it doesn't require much special equipment.

All done!

Step 1:  Prep

Read your recipe, gather and prep the right amount of fruit and sugar.  There are great simple jelly recipes on the inside of Sure Jell boxes.  These recipes are a great place to start.
First full basket of goodies.  I love shopping in the garden.

Step 2:  Prepare Jelly

Cook you fruit for the time directed. You'll want a much larger pot than you think you need - it can really bubble as it starts to cook.  Also, cooking on a medium high is usually a good bet.  Be sure to stick close by and stir frequently.
Rhubarb, sugar and pineapple mixture simmering.

Gram's Strawberr Rhubarb Jelly

5 c. rhubarb - chopped
5 c. sugar
1 small can crushed pineapple

Combine and let sit for an hour.

Cook for 15 min.

Add 1 6 oz. box of strawberry jello


Step 3: Sterilize

Lids in pot covered with boiling water.

Prep your jars and lids.  I boil my jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them. Some people just run them through the dishwasher.  Either way is OK.  Lids should be put in a small pot and boiling water (from tea kettle) should be poured over them.
Jars lined up waiting to be filled.

Step 4: Fill andCover

Line your jars up on the counter. Using a wide mouth funnel ladel the hot jelly into the jar. Then run a wet paper towel around the top of the jar to catch any jelly that may have spilled.  You don't want anything to interfere with sealing.  Place a lid (a jar wand is a great little tool) on each jar, put a ring on each one and tighten it.  I hold my hot jars with a towel or the edge of my apron.

Place lid on jar and tighten ring.

Jars in jelly canner

Step 5:  Can

Fill your canner about 2/3 full of hot tap water.  Bring the water in your canner to a boil.  (When I'm canning jelly I just use a large spaghetti pot with a small rack in the bottom.  You could also put a towel in the bottom.  Just don't put the jars directly on the bottom of the pan.).  Add your jars (use tongs or jar lifters).  Put a lid on the canner and wait for the water to come back to a boil.  Most recipes say to can jelly for 10 minutes.  When the time is up, remove the jars (use tongs or jar lifter) and place on a clean towel to cool and seal.  Leave them undisturbed for 24 hours.  You'll probably hear a few of them ping as they seal.  My mom always says this is music to a canner's ears.

Pickled Beets and Turnips and Pickled Radishes

I also pickled some turnips while I was in the kitchen.  They're fantastic.  Soccer Boy actually cheered when he saw me making them.  Go here for a recipe.  

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